For many years, The Victorian held a prestigious place on Quintard Avenue in Anniston, AL, but then it fell into disrepair. State Senator Hal Marsh and his wife Ginger recently bought it, restored it to its former glory, renamed it Hotel Finial and now has it gleaming and ready to charm lucky guests. It is centrally located between Birmingham and Atlanta and is well worth the short drive off the interstate.
Storied and stately history
John Martin McKleroy, original owner of the property, had a goal in 1888 of building a house on the tallest hill of Quintard Avenue, considered to be the finest residential street at that time. Lots were only being sold to purchasers who promised to build houses costing at least 5,000 USD. When he died, his son William Henry McKleroy lived in the house until his death in 1919. His widow sold the house to William Coleman Wilson in 1920, and when he died, Frank and Robbie Kirby bought the house and property in 1949.
The Kirbys were said to exemplify the elegance and gentility of this home with their own brand of Southern nobility and charm. They filled the house with music, placing two pianos in the front parlor and a large electric organ in the entrance hall. The home was something of a tourist attraction during the Christmas season when the Kirbys placed a live nativity scene on the back lawn complete with sheep, lambs, donkeys and carols played through speakers spaced throughout the trees. Mr. Kirby died in 1981, and Mrs. Kirby in 1983. The house was purchased in 1984 by a development firm for the purpose of turning it into an inn and restaurant.
The home has been a highly visible symbol of opulence in the city of Anniston, not only because of its physical appearance and location but also because its first three owners were such prominent and important leaders in the community.
This Queen Anne-style home became The Victoria in 1985 and eventually grew into a 55-room hotel. The ownership changed hands several times, even being owned by Jacksonville State University at one point. Once it began to fall into disrepair, no one seemed to have the money or the interest in maintaining the property or restoring it. That is, until Del and Ginger Marsh put in an offer in 2015 which was accepted by the City of Anniston. Once again, the property has a prominent owner. Del Marsh has been the President Pro Tempore of the Alabama State Legislature since 2010. He and his wife chose to do a 2.5 million USD complete renovation. Every guest room behind the main house was gutted, and all new lighting, plumbing and flooring were installed. The rooms in the main house received similar attention.
Local businesses and products were used extensively. An ironworker from the Anniston area made the beds, and the headboards were fashioned by hard pine saved from a nearby mill. A table in the bar was made from a piece of a large oak tree that fell during the renovation process, and a 9-foot-tall (2.74 meters) weather vane on top of a turret in the Carriage House became the hotel’s namesake. A finial is a term for a decorative feature on top of a roof, so it is now known as Hotel Finial.
Beautiful Victorian architecture in a great location
Victorian homes are characterized by towers, turrets, stained glass, large windows, ornate staircases, decorative woodwork and an asymmetrical design. The main house of Hotel Finial has all of these features on grand display. It is well worth the short distance off of Interstate 20 in east Alabama to spend a night in such a luxurious place.
Hotel Finial, 1600 Quintard Avenue, is located about an hour east of Birmingham, AL and 90 minutes west of Atlanta. Visitors to concerts or sporting events in either city would enjoy its convenience. The Talladega Superspeedway, which draws 100,000 car racing fans to its large oval NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) track each year, is only 40 minutes away. And, in Anniston there are notable attractions such as the Anniston Museum of Natural History, Longleaf Botanical Gardens and Berman Museum of World History.
Spacious, well-appointed guest rooms
The bedding is designed to make guests feel pampered. Instead of duvet covers, a soft blanket takes care of chilly nights. When you walk through the sliding barn doors into the bathroom, you will see a tiled walk-in shower with thick, thirsty towels waiting nearby.
There is a big desk area for working travelers and a large flatscreen TV. Each room is equipped with a small refrigerator, a microwave, coffeemaker, hairdryer and complimentary Wi-Fi. Toiletries are made by PURE.
Extra amenities for guests
A hot breakfast buffet is provided each morning in the large dining room of the main house. Guests may choose from eggs, bacon, biscuits, grits with toppings, pastries, fruit, assorted cereals, juice, milk and coffee while soft jazz plays in the background.
The former carriage house on the property has been revitalized and is now a bar and check-in center. The bar opens at 4:00 pm daily.
An outdoor swimming pool is open for guests during warm weather.
The grounds of the hotel are secured by large fences on the perimeter and a monitored entrance gate. That is especially attractive for solo female travelers.
A source of pride for the citizens of Anniston
Hotel Finial is a lodging choice that the people of Anniston can recommend with pride. It is remarkable in appearance, comfortable for guests and convenient for travelers to this corridor of southeastern United States. State Senator Del Marsh and his wife Ginger are gracious owners and hosts who are committed to maintaining a hotel of excellence.
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